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torah commentary
What’s for dinner?
Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 Parshat Shemini begins with the rites for inaugurating the priesthood and Aaron as the first high priest, certainly a seminal moment in the religious life of th...
Apr 16, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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Rabbi Eli Seidman
Acharon Shel Pesach “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead th...
Apr 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
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From slavery to freedom: Pesach and Yom Hashoah
Every year, within a week of emerging from Passover’s journey from slavery to freedom, we gather together as a community to remember and to mourn on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. The proximi...
Mar 31, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend
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Spiritual cleansing can accompany the physical one
This Shabbat, the last Shabbat before Pesach, is known as Shabbat HaGadol — “the Big Shabbat,” “the Great Shabbat.” The exact origin and purpose of this distinction have been debated by sages for m...
Mar 26, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend
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The meaning of ritual
This week we begin the Book of Leviticus: “The Eternal called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel.’” This book is for the children of Israel. I...
Mar 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend
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Talented in our own ways
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekude, Exodus 38:21-40:38 Every time I have to draw a picture, especially of the map of Israel, my students laugh. I am not an artist. Art was a required course in high school and...
Mar 12, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
Something’s terribly wrong when a leaf is frightening
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer
May 15, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 96 96 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Bechukotai Leviticus 26:3-27:34 Bechukotai — literally “My law” — is the last parshah in Leviticus, functioning as an epilogue to the entire book. Through Moses, the Lord gives the people o...
Charity’s a choice, tzedakah isn’t
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
May 08, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend
If we find our neighbor in trouble, we must help him or her. This isn’t just being neighborly; this is the law, our law. To help someone who is in trouble is not a choice, it’s an obligation. If we...
'The Case of the Blasphemer'
by Rabbi Aaron Bisno
Apr 30, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Emor Leviticus 21:1-24:23 Do you know the story, referred to as  “The Case of the Blasphemer”? Candidly,  I’d be surprised if you did. “The Case  of the Blasphemer” isn’t often included  in...
Fire, Brimstone and Positive Acts
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Apr 24, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend
  Parshat Kedoshim Leviticus 19:1-20:27 This week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, starts with one of the most-oft quoted verses of the Torah: “Speak to all the people of Israel and say to them that you ...
Why is this Shabbat Different from All Other Shabbatot?
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Apr 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Acharei Mot/Shabbat haGadol – Leviticus 16:1-18:30 One of the primary features of this week’s parshah, Acharei Mot, is the description of the rituals by which Aaron, the high priest, would ...
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
by Rabbi David Novitsky Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 102 102 recommendations | email to a friend
For more than half my lifetime I have done my best to help victims of violent crimes in their struggle to recover. I have counseled rape, murder, terrorist and abuse victims spiritually, emotionall...
New moon, new months
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend
Tazria Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The first Passover Seder is nearly upon us. How do we know? No need to look at the calendar; go outside and look at the moon. As our ancestors did, we too can look at the...
That last bite of matzah has a special message
by Rabbi Barbara Symons, Temple David, Monroeville
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The countdown to Passover is on. With that in mind, what will we do this year to make Passover less about food — especially decadent chocolate cakes preceded by a multi...
The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Zachor, Leviticus 6:1-8:36 One of my rabbis in seminary told this story: While serving as an Army chaplain, a soldier professed to him, “I believe every word in the Bible!” The rabbi replie...
Little alephs need our help
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 109 109 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 In this week’s parshah, which is the beginning of the book of Leviticus, we have something very unusual in the Torah scroll.  The first word, Vayikra, which means “And H...